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Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) is a standard interface for connecting a motherboard to storage devices such as hard drives and CD-ROM/DVD drives. The original IDE had a 16-bit interface that connected two devices to a single-ribbon cable. This cost-effective IDE device carried its own circuitry and included an integrated disk drive controller. Prior to IDE, controllers were separate external devices.
IDE’s development increased data transfer rate (DTR) speed and reduced storage device and controller issues.
IDE is also known as Advanced Technology Attachment (ATA) or intelligent drive electronics (IDE).
The IDE interface contains two IDE device connections and two motherboard connectors for two data cables. An IDE-integrated controller sends an array of 512-byte blocks between the drive and motherboard, which houses up to four chipset-controlled IDE devices within one system.
Most personal computers (PC) contain hard drive and CD-ROM connections. The hard drive uses one cable and connects to the motherboard via the primary IDE connector. The CD-ROM drive and other storage devices share one IDE cable.
The standard IDE (ATA/ATAPI) uses two different connectors. The IDE/ATA cable attaches to the data connector, and the standardized power connector provides power.
IDE reduced problems associated with storage devices and integrated controllers. Prior to IDE, controllers were separate external devices. Several hardware manufacturers, including Compaq Computer Corporation (which was sold to Hewlett-Packard), and Control Data Corporation (CDC), industrialized the ST-506 hard drive controller and signaling protocols.